Red-hot Devils beat Flyers for fifth win in six


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Devils are feeling right at home on the road.

Travis Zajac had two power-play goals and Kyle Palmieri added a goal and two assists to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Andy Greene scored an empty-net goal with 6.7 seconds left for the Devils, who won their fourth straight on the road. New Jersey has lost just once away from home this season.

“It’s not easy to do in any league,” Devils coach John Hynes said of winning on the road. “But tribute to the guys, they’ve found ways to win.”

Luke Schenn scored for Philadelphia.

“We didn’t deserve to win the game,” Flyers’ Jakub Voracek said. “They were better than us.”

Voracek didn’t have a point and has just three assists without a goal through nine games. He set a career high with 81 points last season.

“We always leave 100 percent on the ice, (but) we just didn’t play good,” Voracek said.

Palmieri put the Devils in front at 1:28 into the third period when he blocked Evgeny Medvedev’s shot attempt at the blue line, raced past Medvedev and fired a wrister from the left circle over goalie Steve Mason‘s left shoulder that made it 2-1.

“It was a great effort,” Hynes said. “You see a guy make a real hard play, sacrifice his body to block a shot and then winds up scoring the winning goal was nice to see and a great job by him.”

Said Palmieri, “I was just trying to put it on net and make him make a save.”

Zajac made it a two-score lead just over a minute later with his second power-play goal, beating Mason from the slot with a backhander that again went over the goalie’s left shoulder. The Devils had the man advantage after Philadelphia was penalized a second time for having too many men on the ice.

“I’ve got to communicate better on the bench and that’s the bottom line,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

Voracek was more direct.

“There’s no excuse for that,” he said. “It should happen twice a year, not twice a game.”

The Flyers got on the board first with 4:56 left in the second period when Schenn fired the puck toward the net from the right boards and past Cory Schneider, who misplayed what appeared to be a routine save.

New Jersey tied it at 1 when Zajac scored his third goal of the season with about two minutes left in the second period.

Palmieri set up that power-play goal with a deft pass from the left circle between two Flyers defensemen. A wide-open Zajac tapped in a forehand shot into an empty net from just in front of the crease as Mason couldn’t get there in time.

“All I had to do was put my stick on the ice,” Zajac said.

Veteran Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier assisted Schenn’s goal in his season debut after sitting as a healthy scratch for the club’s first eight games. Lecavalier, who has been idle despite 411 career goals and two years left on a five-year, $22.5 million contract, replaced Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body). Bellemare was hurt in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Buffalo and is expected to miss two weeks.

Mason made 29 saves. He dropped to 0-7-0 in eight games, seven of which have been starts, against the Devils. New Jersey is the only team Mason hasn’t beaten.

“Yeah, I’ve known that,” Mason said. “It’s not for a lack of trying. Sometimes things don’t go your way.”

Schneider had 27 saves.

Notes: Flyers C Sean Couturier (upper body) missed his third straight game. … Philadelphia backup goalie Michal Neuvirth returned to the bench after missing the last two games due to an upper body injury. … The teams will meet three more times this season. … The Flyers begin a five-game road trip on Friday night in Buffalo.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.